hi! i’m so excited to share with you my research on the art of chicano culture.
The following are the sources i used for my blog post, “The Two Faces of Chicano Art” which is a synopsis of the idea that there are two approaches to Chicano art. One is realistic and the other abstract.
i took primary inspiration from Dr. Nuria Martinez, who taught me in my Advanced Drawing class at California State University, Chico this past fall semester. Her lecture was on the work of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. Their work helped me to see how two artists with very similar interests could take two such different approaches to their artistic goals and styles.
I followed up after Dr. Martinez’s class by reading two books: “Mexican Muralists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros” by Joan Anzaldua and “Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation,” by Richard Griswold del Castillo and Richard Brandes which focused more on the artwork and artists involved in Chicano Art from its birth in the 1960s up through today’s contemporary artists.
It was a really hard assignment for me because I had never done anything like it before! I
Chicano art is a very real form of expression that is used to convey a specific message. The message it conveys is often about the struggles of being Chicano in today’s society and the need for change to improve the quality of life for Chicanos.
Tone is important to the overall message that is being conveyed. Because of this, those who view Chicanos as lazy or unskilled (or any other negative stereotype) will not be able to view Chicano art from an unbiased perspective, and may miss the entire point of what is being said in the piece.
Attempting to understand Chicano art without considering tone would be like attempting to understand a film without considering lighting and color; it would be impossible, because they are so heavily dependent upon each other.
Chicano art should not be ignored; it should be viewed with all its components included, or else it may be misunderstood.
Chicano art reflects the duality of Chicanos identity – one who is both Mexican and American. The problem for the artist is how to depict this duality in a way that clearly defines the Chicano identity.
The Chicano artists struggle to depict this duality has taken several directions. Some choose to depict an American identity, while others stress a Mexican identity, while still others depict both identities in their work. By knowing this information it becomes easier to understand the complex nature of Chicano art.
Chicano Art: Realism or Abstraction?
Chicanos, especially artists have been pressured to use realistic styles in their paintings and sculptures. Many have used these styles because they believe that only realistic styles can accurately reflect reality. These artists feel that if they don’t use realist styles no one will take them seriously as a Chicano artist. However, some Chicano artists are beginning to use abstract styles in order to express their cultural and racial heritage as well as their personal experiences and feelings about themselves as Chicanos. Abstraction is also used by many non-Chicano artists as a way of expressing their inner feelings about themselves and society, so why not Chicanos? The fact that most Chicanos
In a recent post I discussed Chicano art and how it is moving from a narrative or political perspective to one that is more abstract. I mentioned that this was not just the case with Chicano art but with most other forms of contemporary art. This has been the case since the first decade of the 20th century.
The first decade of the 20th century saw the development of what is known as Cubism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Futurism and others. Many of these movements were very similar to each other in their concepts but they were also very different in their execution.
Towards the end of the 19th century, artists started to break away from realistic portrayals. One of them was Paul Gauguin who developed an aesthetic based on a personal interpretation of form, space and color. He moved from realism to something that was completely his own.
This trend did not stop at the beginning of the 20th century but continued into its later decades. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Joan Miro are just three examples of artists who moved away from realism towards abstraction. They all started out being realists but then began to move away from realism towards abstraction.
Cubism developed in a very short period (
If the question is, “Why do Chicano artists paint in a style that looks European?” then the answer is, because they want to be successful.
If we look at paintings by Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keeffe and then look at a painting by David Siqueiros or José Clemente Orozco (both Mexican Muralists), we will see that they all use a more realistic style of painting. But, if we look at murals painted by Diego Rivera, we will notice he uses the same style as Jose Clemente Orozco. The only difference is that his mural is much larger.
Tina Modotti was an Italian photographer who traveled to Mexico to learn about photography. She took many photographs of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo for La Esfera magazine and wrote articles about them. Tina Modotti also took many portraits of the people of Mexico as well as landscapes.
Modotti took photographs of Frida Kahlo which were well received by magazines in New York City and Paris. Tina Modotti’s photography helped introduce the Mexican people and culture to the rest of the world. Tina Modotti was one of Frida Kahlo’s closest friends. She was also Diego Rivera’s lover from 1923 to 1930, but she
With the Mexican-American War concluded, the United States was now on its way to being a continental nation. The relationship between the citizens of the new country and its new inhabitants was one of tremendous importance. The Americans valued their democracy, but they also believed in Manifest Destiny, the idea that God is on their side. In addition, there were many prejudices towards Mexicans in particular. On the other hand, there were also people who wished to see Mexicans as part of this new society.
The need to define Mexican-Americans as “American,” was one of clear concern to artists of the time. Although many artists in this period were concerned with social justice and issues such as slavery, it was during this era that an almost entirely new style of art began to emerge—realism. Realism can be described as an accurate portrayal of reality or life without idealization or subjectivity. In other words, it is an artistic depiction that is not altered by personal emotions or opinions (Wikipedia). It was during this time that many Mexican-Americans were first seen as human beings.
Realism therefore became a very important movement in art history because it allowed for more depictions of “the other.” This movement would pave the way for future movements like Impressionism which became more focused on